Stephen “Steve” Hetico, age 68, of League City, Texas gained his wings on Monday, February 27, 2023. Steve was born in Waukegan IL, the son of Rev. Robert and Rachel Pentinmaki Hetico. All four of his grandparents emigrated from Finland to the United States where they worked in the iron mines of Michigan and for the United Postal Service in Pennsylvania. Steve was raised in the Finnish Lutheran church. His father conducted services in English and in Finnish. Steve graduated from Carthage College, a small Lutheran college on the shores of Lake Michigan. He and his brother Bob were champion swimmers for the college.
After graduation, Steve began his 36-year teaching career, teaching every subject to 6th graders, and coaching swimming, track, basketball and football, in Waukegan and later in Clear Creek ISD here in Texas. He loved all his students and his favorite subjects were World Cultures and Reading. Even after his retirement from formal teaching, Steve was a teacher to his grandson Matthew, and with his wife Beth, he was very active in Matthew’s elementary school, League City Elementary. There, they both encountered many of their former students who are now teachers, staff and parents of students at the school. Steve absolutely loved that.
Steve’s working life entailed much more than teaching. He repeatedly cracked up his family and friends with: “Did I ever tell you about when I worked at . . . . “
He spread asphalt, tended bar, operated an extruder, assembled Chryslers, and much more. And for 46 years he painted houses, more than 20 years with his dear friend John Lauret in Waukegan and another 26 years here in League City, including many years with Fredy Baten, who he mentored in painting and in business and grew to consider as part of his family.
Family was of primary importance to Steve. He treasured his relationship with his siblings, his son Michael and with the Texas family he and Beth shared. Steve is predeceased by his parents and his brother John. He is survived by his wife, Beth, his children and grandchildren Michael (Ursula), Janet (Kevin), Steven (Suleika), Matthew, Adelaide and Genevieve. He is also survived by siblings Tim (Waleka) Bob (Kathrine), Hope (Alan) and their families.
Steve was a warm and loving Buppa, husband and Dad. He had a very special relationship with his grandson Matthew. They spent hours together reading, walking, swinging, playing games, riding bikes, making silly faces, playing the harmonica, playing putt-putt, and just hanging out.
Steve lived a life of loving service to his family and friends, his church, and his community. At church, he was an active member of the Open Door Sunday School Class at Clear Lake United Methodist Church, did Mexico mission trips and UM Army trips, read scripture in worship services and participated in the Walk to Emmaus, and the annual Christmas pageant.
Steve was the kindest and gentlest of men. He loved and followed Jesus and he achieved his life’s goal – to enrich the lives of all those he touched.